It's fitting to find Park Center High School senior Eddie Saydee in his advanced placement English class reading a new book because Saydee has a story of his own that's worth telling.
"He's super smart, and he's analytical," said Janet Freeberg-Lawson, Saydee's English teacher at Park Center High School.
A leader in the classroom and a star on the soccer field, the 17-year-old Saydee was headed in a different direction not so long ago.
"Couple years ago, 10th grade even, [I was] making bad decisions," said Saydee. "My mom, she was out in Philly, and she even sent for me to go out there because she thought I wasn't going to do the right thing over here."
Saydee left Park Center, headed to the East Coast and when he returned junior year, a connection with the Mormon church changed everything.
"When I met the missionaries and things started to turn around, I started to go to church more often and actually have a purpose and actually think before I make decisions," said Saydee.
Now captain of the soccer team and an all–conference and all-state pick last year, Saydee has earned the respect of his teammates and earned a scholarship to play soccer next year at San Jose State University.
"I always tell my teammates, no good thing comes easy," said Saydee.
Teacher Janet Freeberg-Lawson says Saydee shows a level of maturity in class not often seen in teenagers.
"He's well respected with his peers, very well respected," said Freeberg-Lawson. "The students in class look up to him, and they listen when he talks."
Saydee leads with the experience of knowing that a new path is always possible as long as you don't give up.
"I love encouraging people because I know that I could've took the easy way out, but I took the hard way out, and I've seen the blessings that come with it."
Alexandra Renslo reporting http://twelve.tv http://www.facebook.com/12localnews http://twitter.com/12Sports
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